The New Frontiers Initiative (NFI) works with the intelligence community and other security and safety-focused government, educational, and business partners, to pursue projects and agency relationships to expand Illinois’ activities and contributions to national security and safety. The NFI project started in late 2019 and the Initiative was formalized in Spring 2021. NFI is an outgrowth and expansion of the university’s very successful, decade-long Blue Waters Project at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), and leverages campus strengths in computation, simulation, data science, engineering/science/agriculture, cyber protection, and other areas.

Initially, the NFI is focused on geospatial/mapping activities, in conjunction with the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), anchored by the University of Illinois’s outstanding track record of delivering high-performance computing, data, and computational science, and software research and development. We are actively exploring additional opportunities to support critical national security efforts.

The NFI reports to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation and is hosted by NCSA. It works closely with the Security Management Office, academic departments, campus research institutes such as the Information Trust Institute (ITI) and the Applied Research Institute (ARI), and other initiatives.

NFI strives to create opportunities to grow the research and innovation portfolio at the University of Illinois in ways that will be impactful to society. It will also facilitate expanding educational opportunities.

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